Moving On (Chap 3)
However we leave, we can decide which way we go afterwards.
There are two main routes.. .
1 Going Global. Head off across the waves to 'do free trade deals'
The 'Free Marketeers' want to go off doing deals around the world with 'our old friends and new allies'. They cannot wait to get out of the Customs union, so they can make ‘free trade deals’ across the world. Remember we can and do already trade with the rest of the world, it is just some do not want to pay taxes on stuff coming in or going out. But those taxes/tariffs are there for complex cultural and historical reasons – specific to each country.
Negotiating a ‘free trade deal’ will mean conceding something in return. 40% of our food and drink exports consists of ‘hard liquor’ as US call it - whisky and gin. Part of UK plan to increase food exports involves more whisky sold – say to US and Mexico. If – say- they wanted to increase sales to India, they would face a tariff of around 130%. If we tried to get rid of that, what would India want?
Liam Fox in December 2017 advertised nine jobs for 'trade commissioners' with lucrative salaries and gold plated expense accounts. This is despite already having ambassadors round the world, and no trade deals possible for years yet - the earliest 2021
instead of just ripping off many developing countries by buying their raw materials, we should be encouraging their own economies by helping to develop their food sectors based on their raw materials - as we have good experience and knowledge to pass on - as explained in Chapter 3. The EU is doing just that investing E44billion to create in youth jobs.
Wherever we go we will meet Chinese, who recently showed that they remember what we did to them all those years ago. They asked our delegation to take off our 'remembrance' poppies, because it reminded them of the opium wars.
2. Buying British. Invest in ourselves - the biggest market is under our noses..literally. Brexiteers who are concerned about controlling our borders surely should want to invest more.
Last Food in England looks at the map of England which bears names which used to resonate through kitchens in the land: Colchester, Cheddar, Hereford, Swaledale, Bath, Lincoln, York, Wensleydale - the list goes on. England has more breeds of livestock, fruit cultivars and vegetable seeds to its credit than any other country in the world. Sussex, for example, was known for its cockles, herrings, truffles, seakale, cabbage, alongside its middlehorn beef, Southdown mutton and Tipper beer. Marwood Yeatman shines a light on what food remains, and highlights what could endure. This book is a wonderful voyage of discovery - an invitation to cook without recipes, travel without guides, and find history without museums. Take time to read about our fertile food heritage and the map of England will never look the same again.
Chris Grayling says Britain would grow more of its own food if no trade deal responding to industry claims that food prices could rise sharply in the event of a no-deal Brexit. He said this would hurt farmers on the continent as the UK was a key market. However, if this happened, he said the UK would respond by "growing more here and buying more from around the world".
Just a few problems with this Chris! 1) Where are the farmers going to come from - their average age is around 60, so not best placed to do more work. 2) Where are farm workers going to come from? You have done away with AWB, so only minimum wages to get up at all hours in all weathers. 3) Are you going to get more migrant workers - the very source of Brexit complaints, and most now going elsewhere as relative value of pound has plummeted. 4) Who is going to do the necessary research - 3/4 of all land based research closed in last 30 years of 'let supermarkets rule'. Mind you you were also clearly clueless regarding farm work when you were a Minister of Work and Pensions - you said the high farm fatality rates may be due to the climate.
Food & farming in the Government's White Paper on Industrial Strategy talks of * High-efficiency agriculture * Markets for innovative farming technologies like drones * Council for Food & Drink of industry with government * Food production needs to be significantly more efficient and sustainable * Sector is target business for Artificial Intelligence. AgriTech East in 'Transforming food production' say 'it will increase the incentives for investment in sustainable agriculture'. That includes 'soil-less production', whereas I'd prefer some mention of better soil management - especially in the East, as made clear in the book. This sounds OK for richer farmers, but with investment risk at an all time high, most will not benefit. It needs proper infrastructural investment. How does this 'industrial strategy' supposed to replace dependence on monocultures worked by migrant workers ie plantations?